This Insurance Startup Wants to Cover Tomorrow’s Self-Driving Cars
Steven Levy

There’s the technology today to feasibly have a mass market self-driving lawn mower, a mash-up of a Roomba and one of those self-driving megafarm tractors that have been using those wifi beacon signals since before the IoT was itself a thing.

[It does exist! But sort of proves my point: overconfidence, a niche item, not ubiquitous.]

But if you had just one horrible fatality involving a baby, you’re toast, no recovery. I don’t doubt that they could today produce a lawnbot, I am sure there have to be some, hell I bet Boston Scientific will soon have one of those strange astroDogDeer combos that could get up on its hind paws (hooves?) and do a decent job with an old push mower. Give Mr. Do! a run for his money! But in order to get to mass market…

It isn’t the average, mean, standard improvement, over human performance, like an assembly line. But maybe it will be in the future.

I am more interested in the algorithms that an Uber fleet of self-driving Teslas would use to park themselves and refuel in a parking lot/garage and how many human attendants you would need to oversee the process. And could some similar form of a Zipcar style company with maybe partial ownership, like the Green Bay Packers, a sort of collectivist co-op, compete? A fleet of self-driving cars which you buy into, which refuel themselves and show up when and where you need them. I don’t know how you would work out the ownership, do you buy in, get charged for usage, get a stock premium? Not sure. Cadillac is working on a corporate version, not what I am referencing. But with traditional co-ops there is often some form of communal bond and shared work load.

But I will wait until Buffett invests heavily in self-driving cars and insurance companies specializing in covering them. Until then, while it seems like the just over the horizon future, to me, it is still just the next big thing: tail fins, rocket cars, G.U.T. anti-G flying cars out of 50’s Amazing Stories pulp.

But. But if you read those (as I still do) it is, well, amazing how many of some of those exotic, impossible, projected-into-a-possible-future as mundane, ordinary everyday objects have not only become actual things but are in fact so taken for granted we forget how mind-numbingly bizarre some of them really are.

Self-driving car insurance is a thing? Sure! Next a crime-scene reality TV show documenting house robots breaking the first law of robotics.

But. But only some of those exotic projections. Most are so laughable as to reflect poorly on the time they were written.